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Hayden seeking mineral funds

Danie Harrelson

— Municipalities and counties throughout Colorado are looking for their share of the state’s energy and mineral impact funds this week.

More than $17.5 million has been requested. The town of Hayden is the sole Routt County representative seeking money in this funding cycle.

The town is asking for about $239,000 to finance the realignment of a busy intersection near its elementary school and the Routt County Fairgrounds.

The Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance Program helps to offset the costs of direct impacts of energy and mineral development on communities and indirect needs related to such development. The Colorado Department of Local Affairs hands out the funds, which stem from the state severance tax on oil, gas, carbon dioxide, coal and metals and the state’s share of royalties paid to the federal government for mining minerals and mineral fuels on federally owned land.

A nine-member state Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance Advisory Committee recommends how much money each funding request merits.

Routt County Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak, who sits on the committee, said she did not know how much money was available for the state to hand out during this funding cycle.

Thirty-five projects throughout the state received almost $7 million in Energy Impact funds in the last round of allocations. The committee, in response to state budget cuts, gave conservative recommendations during that funding cycle, Stahoviak said.

Bob Brooks, executive director of the state Department of Local Affairs, said the Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance program has made hundreds of projects possible.

The oil, gas and mining industries are important to the state and the Colorado communities in which they exist, he said.

“They not only provide the energy we rely on, provide local jobs and inject dollars into the state and local economies, but through the taxes and royalties they pay into the Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance program, they help local communities address other energy-related impacts,” Brooks said.

Most of the projects that receive Energy Impact funds involve infrastructure and basic public facility improvements.

A few communities, however, are asking for funds to help alleviate the impact of this summer’s wildland fire season, such as a $600,000 request by La Plata County to deal with mudslides.

Hayden’s Breeze Basin Boulevard and Third Street have demanded the town’s attention for many years.

“It’s nothing new,” Routt County Commissioner Dan Ellison said. “It has been a problem for quite some time.”

Realignment plans call for widening the right of way from 60 feet to 90 feet and adding four left turn lanes with continuous flow lanes along Poplar Street.

Town Manager Rob Straebel is optimistic about Hayden’s chances of getting a favorable recommendation.

“It (the request) is timely,” he said.

The town has already committed about $99,000, or 30 percent of realignment costs, to the project.

Straebel said the town has a history of being able to show the coal industry’s impact on its infrastructure.

“We have fared fairly well at these presentations,” he said. “It’s easy to show a correlation between the community of Hayden and (mining).”

Straebel and Hayden Mayor Chuck Grobe will make the presentation Friday morning.


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